BABA YARA (1936-1969) – Outstanding Ghanaian Footballer Life Story After The Terrible Accident That Happens To Him On The Ho-Kpeve Road

By | October 12, 2021

BABA YARA (1936-1969) – Outstanding Ghanaian Footballer Life Story After The Terrible Accident That Happens To Him On The Ho-Kpeve Road

On March 24, 1963, while returning from a victorious league match with Kpando Malpo F/C, the vehicle on which the Real Republicans were traveling was involved in an accident on the Ho-Kpeve road. The accident rendered Baba Yara a cripple. Before that tragic event, he was capped 49 times and scored many goals for his teams. He scored 51 for Ghana. That he scored so many goals could be attributed to his ability to play with either leg, left or right. 

As a creator of goals, he was a great asset to the pioneer Black Stars team; and as a striker, his intelligence was beyond description. His sense of dedication was unsurpassed and his selflessness and discipline on the field were legendary.

C.K. Gyamfi, for some years a playing mate of Baba Yara and later coach of the Black Stars, describes Baba Yara as a gentleman par excellence:

He was always smiling and even when the game gets tough you can see him smiling. He never argues on the field or shouts at his colleagues. I always gave him high marks for his comportment, humility, and gentleness. I always remember an incident which for me epitomized his humility and greatness. We had an impending match with Nigeria, and the Black Stars were in camp. Without permission, Baba Yara left camp to go and collect an award from a manufacturing company.

I took a serious view of his action, especially given the effect it was likely to have on discipline. As a disciplinary measure, I asked him to go home. The gentleman he was, he went to see our director, Ohene Djan, and apologized, explaining fully the circumstances under which he left camp.

In the company of Ohene Djan, he came and apologized on his knees. I believe, the ability to accept that you have erred illuminates your character. And this incident demonstrated humility in him. In spite of his fame, he was always ready to admit where he erred; he did not allow his glory s to take a better part of him.

Baba Yara’s great contribution to football, was in 1959 and 1960 voted the footballer of the year. In 1961, he won the highest soccer award as the most distinguished member of the Black Stars Group.

After the tragic accident of March 24, 1963, all attempts were made to heal him, but to no avail. The most heartbreaking event during his bedridden life was at the Accra Airport when he returned in January 1964 from London after receiving treatment. The over-crowded airport waited with patience, expecting to see him come down from the plane fully recovered. After minutes of waiting Baba Yara was carried on a stretcher, weak and tired and still unable to walk. All eyes were red. Many shed tears for him. The airport was turned into a graveyard. All this time he was confined to a wheelchair, he derived great support from his second wife, Aisha with whom he had a child, Yasmeen. His other child, Sarata, he had with a woman he did not marry.

For six years, one month, one week, and three days he was bed-ridden but never lost hope. On May 5, 1969, death came at last. Numerous tributes were paid to him. Many pointed to the beauty and fluidity of his style, his sobriety, respect for authority, love for country, and above all, the stupendous courage with which he endured the burden of his illness and the pain of inactivity and the quiet dignity with which he faced the utter hopelessness of the future. Indeed if there was one lesson that Baba Yara left in the footprints of time, it was that: Whatever you have to do, do it well; if misfortune befalls you, be brave.

In all things, do not murmur or complain; but always trust the power and wisdom of the Almighty and Eternal Father.

On March 24, 1963, while returning from a victorious league match with Kpando Malpo F/C, the vehicle on which the Real Republicans were traveling was involved in an accident on the Ho-Kpeve road. The accident rendered Baba Yara a cripple.

Before that tragic event, he was capped 49 times and scored many goals for his teams. He scored 51 for Ghana. That he scored so many goals could be attributed to his ability to play with either leg, left or right. Along the West Coast of Africa, he was referred to as the “King of Wingers and the “original professor” of the Black Stars attacking machinery.

As a creator of goals, he was a great asset to the pioneer Black Stars team; and as a striker, his intelligence was beyond description. His sense of dedication was unsurpassed and his selflessness and discipline on the field were legendary.

C.K. Gyamfi, for some years a playing mate of Baba Yara and later coach of the Black Stars, describes Baba Yara as a gentleman par excellence:

He was always smiling and even when the game gets tough you can see him smiling. He never argues on the field or shouts at his colleagues. I always gave him high marks for his comportment, humility, and gentleness. I always remember an incident which for me epitomized his humility and greatness. We had an impending match with Nigeria, and the Black Stars were in camp. Without permission, Baba Yara left camp to go and collect an award from a manufacturing company.

I took a serious view of his action, especially given the effect it was likely to have on discipline. As a disciplinary measure, I asked him to go home. The gentleman he was, he went to see our director, Ohene Djan, and apologized, explaining fully the circumstances under which he left camp.

In the company of Ohene Djan, he came and apologized on his knees. I believe, the ability to accept that you have erred illuminates your character. And this incident demonstrated humility in him. In spite of his fame, he was always ready to admit where he erred; he did not allow his glory s to take a better part of him.

Baba Yara’s great contribution to football, he was in 1959 and 1960 voted the footballer of the year. In 1961, he won the highest soccer award as the most distinguished member of the Black Stars Group.

After the tragic accident of March 24, 1963, all attempts were made to heal him, but to no avail. The most heartbreaking event during his bedridden life was at the Accra Airport when he returned in January 1964 from London after receiving treatment. The over-crowded airport waited with patience, expecting to see him come down from the plane fully recovered.

After minutes of waiting Baba Yara was carried on a stretcher, weak and tired and still unable to walk. All eyes were red. Many shed tears for him. The airport was turned into a graveyard. All this time he was confined to a wheelchair, he derived great support from his second wife, Aisha with whom he had a child, Yasmeen. His other child, Sarata, he had with a woman he did not marry.

For six years, one month, one week, and three days he was bed-ridden but never lost hope. On May 5, 1969, death came at last. Numerous tributes were paid to him.

Many pointed to the beauty and fluidity of his style, his sobriety, respect for authority, love for country, and above all, the stupendous courage with which he endured the burden of his illness and the pain of inactivity and the quiet dignity with which he faced the utter hopelessness of the future. Indeed if there was one lesson that Baba Yara left in the footprints of time, it was that: Whatever you have to do, do it well; if misfortune befalls you, be brave.

In all things, do not murmur or complain; but always trust the power and wisdom of the Almighty and Eternal Father.

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